When I find myself astonished by what God is asking of me, I do well to remember that I have chosen the narrow gate, not the wide. Sometimes I forget that there is a very "good" reason that the vast majority choses the broad way, while very few even find the other (Matthew 7:13-14).
When Jesus told His disciples they were going to the other side of the lake, the disciples set to the work of it, and Jesus set about napping. That makes me smile. Jesus was humanly exhausted, and He expected his fisher-buddies to do what they were well-equipped to do. Certainly, He could have just appeared at the other side or walked over the water, but He gave them this meaningful work of literally bringing Him to others, and He rested. "But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger" (Luke 8:23). This is not a metaphor. Their boat was flooding and they were in actual danger of dying. What had descended upon the lake was threatening their whole crew's existence. So they did the logical thing in waking the miracle-worker and declaring, "'Master, Master, we are perishing!'" (Luke 8:24).
So far, this all makes sense to me. But Jesus opens His mouth, and I get completely sideswiped. "And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. And He said to them, 'Where is your faith?'" (Luke 8:25). I feel incredulous, honestly. My mind just persists in asking, "What in God's name is He expecting from these mortal men?" But the answer, of course, is that exactly in God's name and in that power He expects everything from His followers--even their lives. Even though it seems a really steep calling, Jesus was asking them to hang on every word He said. "Take care how you listen" He kept insisting, because only those who actively heard were going to "get it" and continue to receive more (Luke 8:18). He told them that they were going to the other side, and that is exactly what was going to happen. He was expecting them to have the faith that He could make that happen no matter what descended upon the lake. If they had been listening, they would have been dwelling on the power of the Man and not the power of the waves, according to Jesus. The reason "they were fearful and amazed" is because they still did not see and understand Who they were dealing with, "saying to one another, 'Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?'"(Luke 8:25).
Jesus was asking after their faith, because it was not present in this scenario. Jesus expected them to believe in His ability to achieve the purpose He set out over their own experiences--over their own five senses. "For I the LORD will speak, and whatever word I speak will be performed" (Ezekiel 12:25). How could He possibly ask them to believe in His ability to perform His will over the absolute catastrophe playing out in their midst? Because He has command over that water. It struck me today that we are in our "right mind" when we are "sitting down at the feet of Jesus" (Luke 8:35). There are a lot of states of mind that seem right to a man, especially when he is knee deep in water. These states of mind seem accurate and logical and even self-protective, but that is not so. No matter the "proofs" before us, we are not perishing, my friends. We are headed for the life eternal (John 3:16). The most right mind we can have is the mind of Christ. When we set our minds on Him we understand that the only real life we will ever experience is nestled entirely in His actual person (Colossians 3:1-4, Philippians 4:4-9). I have no empirical data on what it would have looked like if the disciples' faith had shown up in this instance, but I have this lovely idea. So, I am working up the courage today to let loose the riggings into the gale winds, take my exhausted, sopping wet self, and snuggle in beside my Master in the belly of my battered boat.